Photo Credit: drjeff.tv
Jeff Levine lost an amazing 146 lbs on season two of The Biggest Loser and has managed to keep most of it off, having only regained 23 lbs according to People Magazine. Known affectionately as “doc” on the show he’s a Family Practice Physician who sets a great example for his patients.
Jeff Levine: Weight Journey
Jeff traces his weight gain to his time as a family practice resident. Working 36 hours straight he got into the habit of eating a lot of junk food including hot dogs and hamburgers. As he states on his website drjeff.tv “I used food to keep myself awake, to relax and as a reward. Food became tied to my emotions. I literally became addicted to food.” By the end of residency in 1994, Jeff had gained more than 100 pounds. Reflecting back he says “I was in denial. I was still very active and figured that after the residency, life would get easier and I would lose the weight.”
With 4 kids to support during a subsequent fellowship in women’s health, Jeff moonlighted continuing his pattern of sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, stress and little exercise. Because of his weight gain he developed sleep apnea and needed a breathing machine at night to assist his breathing. His health by his own admission was a mess and he could barely walk up a flight of stairs. He had hypertension, high cholesterol and elevated blood sugars. After a visit to the ER for a bout of chest pain, his cardiologist recommended gastric bypass. Jeff says “Gastric bypass has some major risks. I also knew it wasn’t how I wanted to encourage my patients to lose weight. I wasn’t ready to take that step.”
Despite missing the deadline to submit his audition video, as luck would have it, he was still chosen to fly out to California for an audition. He says even the physician who performed his physical for the show was concerned about not only his health but also his reputation.
“My legs were purple, my ankle was very bad. The doctor was concerned because of the state of my health. He was afraid I would embarrass myself and ruin my reputation as a physician.”
On being a Biggest Loser Contestant
After Jeff was formally invited to be a contestant he found out quickly that life on the Biggest Loser was not going to be easy. No outside contact was allowed; no TV, magazines, newspapers or radio. Participants were expected to do 4-6 hours of exercise each day. Despite the rigors of the show Jeff says “It was like the fraternity I never joined. I made friendships that I’ll have for the rest of my life.”
Biggest Loser Diet
A nutritionist calculated each member’s daily calorie goals. Jeff’s goal calorie intake was 1,500 to 1,800 calories per day, with an occasional increase to 2,000. All contestants are required to cook their own food. Dr Jeff’s diet advice is “Never starve or deny yourself. Variety, balance and moderation are key.”
Breakfast: either a four Egg Beater omelet with two ounces of Canadian Bacon, onions, peppers and mushrooms, and sometimes two ounces of fat free cheese (240 to 270 calories) or four ounces of lox on four Seven Grain Wasa Bread slices with fat free cream cheese and chopped onions (290 calories)
Lunch: lean sliced turkey, ham, or roast beef with salsa, fat free mayonnaise or hummus for lunch, and lots of salads with fat-free dressing
Dinner: fish, chicken, or beef, prepared with various spices and vegetables
One Daily Snack: a piece of fruit with some nuts.
After the Show
Dr Levine continues to exercise doing strength training 4 times a week and a 2 mile run twice a week. He eats a lot more home prepared meals instead of eating out. He also reveals that his weight loss has also had some extracurricular benefits in the romance department telling People that now when he does laps with his wife in the pool “she says, ‘bathing suits are optional!’”
Celebrity Diet Doctor weigh in…
Dr Jeff Levine’s lifestyle of sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, gorging on junk food and stress was a perfect storm for weight gain. The Biggest Loser opportunity was just what the doctor ordered. By incorporating exercise, cutting out the junk food and eating more home cooked meals together with a more sane sleep schedule the good doctor is in fine form. He puts it best, “now at least I can lead by example and not feel hypocritical when I advise my patients on weight loss and exercise. I tell them, ‘If I can do it, then you can, too.’”
Be sure to check out Dr Jeff’s website. It’s very inspirational with before and after pics and a couple of entertaining videos.
Tags: Biggest Loser, Celebrity, Celebrity Diets, Celebrity Weight Loss, Weight Loss Reality TV Show
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